Open-space planning, a puzzle? Discover our tips for choosing the best office furniture!
Even if open-space is in fashion, it is sometimes challenging for companies to optimize their workspace to be as efficient as possible.
This article aims to help you optimize your space by offering you ideas for open-space office furniture that will make your workplace ideal!
Our best office furniture ideas
Optimizing your space: doing more with less
For companies and individuals alike, space is a precious, and therefore expensive, asset! All the more so as each employee needs a minimum of space: count about 10 to 15m2 per head, according to the recommendations of AFNOR. It is advisable to optimize the space available by an optimal layout and by using adapted furniture.
Depending on where you have chosen to set up your premises, the price per square meter can rise very quickly to reach astronomical sums (as is the case in Paris for example). Depending on the budget allocated to rent, not all companies can afford to rent space that is large enough to not worry about the layout of their premises. So the idea is to do more with less: arrange the premises in such a way that your employees feel comfortable in the office despite the reduced space available.
To do this, you have to think about how you will use each square metre at your disposal, both in terms of floor space and room volume. A room can be arranged both on the floor and in the space: the height of the ceiling, the depth of the room, etc. must be taken into account.
Predict passages and anticipate flows in the open space
As open spaces are places occupied by many people, your employees will have to move around: therefore, plan the flow of people and organize the location of offices, rest rooms or common areas accordingly. It is important that a specific area for passage has been planned to prevent your employees from zigzagging between workstations, at the risk of disturbing your colleagues.
Focus on quality, ergonomics and safety
The most important thing when choosing furniture for your open-space is to focus on quality and ergonomics. After having thought about the location of the spaces, we recommend that you spend some time on the choice of furniture according to the needs of your collaborators and the available space. The choice of professional and quality furniture will allow your open-space to maintain its quality over the long term without losing acoustic performance or comfort. The open-space is a workspace in perpetual evolution, we therefore recommend to bet on modular desks easily removable and removable in case the open-space is refurbished. Moreover, always with a view to reorganizing the space, consider opting for several office sizes according to their purpose: individual office, shared office for daily use, meeting office, etc.
Don't forget that safety is paramount, so make sure you use rounded edges to prevent your employees from getting hurt.
Acoustic insulation: furniture that promotes peace and quiet
Open spaces are usually noisy places. Even if its members are not particularly noisy individually, the sum of all their noises will eventually generate a permanent background noise that could be annoying to employees.
It is therefore necessary to choose furniture that attenuates the sound level of the open-space and equalizes the ambient sound. This avoids noise peaks, which are isolated and repetitive sounds that can disturb the calm of your employees.
To reduce the noise of chairs and furniture sliding on the floor, you can equip your office with a carpet as a floor covering. It will dampen the sound in your space and at the same time, you will be less of a nuisance to your neighbours below!
The choice of your desks and work tables is very important. Among all that can be found on the internet, few desks are really adapted to open-space. Whether it is an individual desk, two seats, six seats or more, choose one that has rounded edges so as not to risk injuring your collaborators. If two employees are working opposite each other, choose offices with a partitioning and acoustic wall. This partition, depending on the manufacturer you choose, will be made of an acoustic material such as cork or micro-perforated plaster, which are known for their sound-absorbing properties. In addition, a central partition allows you to isolate yourself visually from the person sitting opposite, which provides more privacy, sometimes lost in open space.
An effective tool is also the acoustic wall or hanging panel. This is a panel that can be hung on the wall, ceiling, hung on any surface or even placed between offices. Although this tool is not widely used by businesses, it is remarkably effective in dampening the sounds circulating in the open-space.
The acoustic booth, or phone booth, is also a formidable tool for acoustic insulation. In addition to providing total sound insulation, the booth is also a tool for optimizing space since it takes up very little floor space and is used by everyone.
Furniture at the heart of the concerns
To feel comfortable in an open-space, it is essential to have a comfortable workspace. The comfort of its employees must be at the heart of the company's concerns. Furniture must therefore be chosen according to criteria of comfort as well as intimacy. Here is a list of furniture that we recommend to make your open-space practical, quiet and comfortable:
The corner office
The corner desk will allow you to create a cocoon a little out of the way so that your employees can have a little more privacy than with an ordinary desk.
The desk bench
It is a single, very large office where several employees will be seated. This type of table has several major advantages: by placing several employees at the same table, you can save space, and thus save money in general. Moreover, desk benches are perfect for creating group emulation spaces: place your employees together according to their profiles or the team they belong to and they will work wonders!
Chairs and office chairs
It is important to think carefully before buying a chair or office chair. In theory, you're going to be sitting in it for a while, so you might as well be comfortable! The most important thing is to focus on comfort and ergonomics rather than price and aesthetics. While this may seem obvious, many companies continue to favour the latter two. The chairs you choose should be adapted to the needs of your employees: adjustable in height, reclining backrest and equipped with comfortable and adaptable armrests. Choose a chair with a synchronous mechanism, i.e. the backrest and seat follow the movement when you move around in your chair: this is more practical and gentler on the body. Ideally, you should choose a chair with a deeply adjustable seat: your particularly tall employees will thank you for it!
The pedestals are practical proximity storage solutions that can be easily added to the office and are ideal for completing an existing layout. Choose the quiet and practical slide-out pedestals. Although it is very tempting to opt for a lower quality material compared to a more expensive quality product for reasons of economy, and with the misconception that both products ultimately serve the same purpose, we strongly recommend that you opt for quality pedestals that will be more durable, more practical and less noisy: the noise generated by the pedestals can be significant and your employees will be grateful for the quiet! In the same vein, you can also opt for practical and economical office cabinets.
The computer support
Although frequently forgotten, it is essential to have a stand on which to place your computer. The purpose of this support is to position your computer in front of you and to adopt the right posture so as not to endanger the health of your employees by bad posture. It is best to choose a stand that is adjustable in height and depth. This support can even be taken with you if the user decides to go to work on a sofa or other.
The desk lamp
The quality of the light and lighting in open space is paramount. Office layouts rarely match the light points originally planned. It is therefore important to provide each employee with a desk lamp to compensate for any lack of light. Favour white lighting, which recreates natural light.
It is necessary that each employee has storage space in direct proximity to his or her desk. This comfort is sometimes forgotten or neglected, but it is still very much appreciated by employees, who will be able to arrange their belongings in dedicated areas rather than stacking them on their desks.
Many companies have not yet adopted the screen on their premises, but we strongly recommend it! In addition to partially damping sounds, screens offer your employees the privacy they may lack on a daily basis in an open-space environment. The screen allows you to cut your employees off from others without them forgetting that their colleagues are nearby if they need them. We recommend that you use them sparingly: the idea is not to recreate individual offices, but to give your employees spaces where they will be out of sight and isolated from sound (even if only partially).
An easy and economical idea is the use of Plexiglas sheets to be installed between offices to isolate them from each other. These partitions can be used to isolate offices from each other and can also help generate calm in the open-space by discouraging your neighbours from talking to you every minute.
Fat-boys & sofas
With the advent of open-space and changing attitudes to the world of work, ways of working have changed, as has the furniture for work. If before, work meant desk and chair, it now means comfort, ease and well-being. For this reason, many companies have opted for alternative seating such as footstools, fatboys or sofas. We particularly recommend the fat boys, which are giant footstools that take on the shape desired by the user, for their comfort and practicality: they are easy to transport, store and will be adored by your employees! Sofas are also a good option: in addition to being comfortable, they allow your employees to vary the places from which to work.
We recommend that you choose wooden furniture, which is more ecological, durable and pleasant to look at. Wood also favours the creation of a cosy and warm atmosphere.
Putting the right people in the right places
Even if gender diversity is a factor in emulation from group to company, it may be necessary to think upstream about the best possible association between employees. We therefore recommend that you think about the best way to associate your employees according to the affinities, professions, synergies that have already been identified, etc. The different teams formed will be more productive together than separately, which will serve your company at the same time.
Design & aesthetics for visual comfort
In order for your employees to feel comfortable in the open-space, it is essential that the overall appearance of the open-space is attractive: visual comfort is almost as important as physical comfort. Your employees will be more inclined to spend time in a place they find beautiful and warm. In addition, it is important that the atmosphere in the open-space environment is conducive to productivity and creativity. We therefore recommend that you choose furniture that corresponds to your company's image, whether in terms of shape or colour. We recommend that you remain neutral in terms of the colours of the furniture and avoid bright, fluorescent or too dark colours. These colours, in addition to not being to everyone's taste, may visually pollute your open-space and make it much less pleasant. Instead, choose furniture in light, pastel colours (white, pale blue, pale green, etc.): soft colours are less disruptive to concentration, which ensures that your staff will remain concentrated for longer. In addition, it is essential not to visually saturate your open-space with too much furniture as this could lead to a feeling of suffocation.
There are many ways to furnish your open-space, whether in terms of furniture, design or comfort! We hope you find this guide useful.